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Historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles

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The historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles, the primary source for the Apostolic Age, is a major issue for biblical scholars and historians of Early Christianity.

While some biblical scholars and historians view the book of Acts as being extremely accurate and corroborated by archaeology[1], others view the work as being inaccurate and in conflict with the Pauline epistles. Acts portrays Paul as more inline with Jewish Christianity, while the Pauline epistles record more conflict, such as the Incident at Antioch. See also Paul of Tarsus and Judaism.

Genre

Modern scholars assign a wide range of genres to the Acts of the Apostles, including biography, novel and epic. Most scholars, however, understand Luke's works (see Luke-Acts) in the tradition of Greek historiography.[2][3] The preface of The Gospel of Luke (1:1-4) drawing on historical investigation is believed to have identified the work to the readers as belonging to the genre of history, and such a theme is continued in Luke's second work, Acts.[4]

Evidence for historicity

This type of evidence has been assembled by a host of scholars[5].

  • Roman historian, A. N. Sherwin-White writes, "For Acts, the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. Yet Acts is, in simple terms and judged externally, no less of a propaganda narrative than the Gospels, liable to similar distortions. But any attempt to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted."[6]
  • The title proconsul (anthypathos) is correctly used for the governors of the two senatorial provinces named in Acts (Acts 13:7-8, Acts 18:12).
  • Inscriptions confirm that the city authorities in the Thessalonica in the first century were called politarchs (Acts 17:6,8).
  • According to inscriptions, grammateus is the correct title for the chief magistrate in Ephesus (Acts 19:35).
  • Felix and Festus are correctly called procurators of Judea. Acts correctly refers to Cornelius as Centurion and to Claudius Lysias as a tribune (Acts 21:31, 23:36)
  • Acts 19: 29-41 describes the function of town assemblies in the operation of a city's business. This is characteristic of the first and perhaps early second centuries.
  • Inscriptions speak about the prohibition against the Gentiles in the inner areas of the Temple. Acts 21:27-36 presupposes this. See also Court of the Gentiles.
  • Roman soldiers were permanently stationed in the tower of Antionia with the responsibility of watching for and suppressing any disturbances at the festivals of the Jews. To reach the affected area they would have to come down a flight of steps into temple precincts. The events of Acts 21:31-37 reflect this.
  • The assertion that there was perhaps no persecution of Christians by Jews prior to 70 is widely disputed. Indeed, it is countered by the evidence of Paul himself, who claims in his own letters that he was once a persecutor of Christian churches. As Schlueter notes, quoting Sanders: "The best-attested fact (for such persecution) is that Paul himself carried out such persecution." See New Perspective on Paul.
  • The Catholic Encyclopedia considers the authenticity of Acts to be a "well-proved truth", but nonetheless notes that other scholars disagree. "Very few writers have ever had their accuracy put to such a severe test as St. Luke, on account of the wide field covered by his writings, and the consequent liability (humanly speaking) of making mistakes; and on account of the fierce attacks to which he has been subjected…"[7]
  • Chapters 16-28 use the first person plural, and are thus known as 'we passages'. This is a strong indication that the author was a travelling companion of Paul during those journeys, and so probably heard the events he narrates directly from Paul.
  • The introduction to the Gospel of Luke makes clear that Luke used a range of sources in compiling his gospel.

Evidence against historicity

Charles Guignebert

On the other hand, Charles Guignebert, a professor of Church history at the Sorbonne in the early 20th century, asserts that "it has been established that the author of Acts was ignorant of the epistles of Paul, and even formally contradicts them; that he does not understand certain ancient traditions [e.g. glossolalia]; and above all that his narrative of the first years of the history of the Christian Church, whose founders he is supposed to have known intimately, is pitifully inadequate" [8]

Problematic passages

  • Acts 5:33-39 gives an account of speech by the first century Pharisee Gamaliel, in which he refers to two movements other than the Way. One lead by Theudas (v 36) and after him led by Judas the Galilean. Josephus placed Judas about 6 AD. He places Theudas under the procurator Fadus 44-46 AD. Two problems emerge. First, the order of Judas and Theudas is reversed in Acts 5. Second, Theudas's movement comes after the time when Gamaliel is speaking.
  • Acts 6:9 mentions the Province of Cilicia during a scene allegedly taking place in mid-30s AD. The Roman province by that name had been on hiatus from 27 BC and re-established by Emperor Vespasian only in 72 AD.[9]
  • In Acts 9:31 which says "So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was built up" has been taken to mean that Judea was understood to have been directly connected to Galilee. If so, then Luke had an incorrect understanding of Palestinian Geography.
  • In Acts 11:28 and 12:25, Agabus prophesies a famine under Claudius (41-54 AD). The famine is mentioned in Acts before the death of Herod (12:20-23). Josephus mentions a famine in Jerusalem relieved by the good graces of Queen Helena of Adiabene connected with procuratorship of Tiberius Julius Alexander (46-48 AD). Josephus however locates the famine after the death of Herod. Agabus' prophecy is therefore not precisely placed in the sequences of Acts 11:28.
  • In Acts 23:31, says the soldiers brought Paul from Jerusalem to Antipatris, a distance of some 45 miles, overnight. Thirty miles constituted a suitable days journey whether by land or by sea. Both the numbers involved (two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, two hundred spearmen) and the speed of the journey (38 to 45 miles in a night) are exaggerated to emphasize the importance of person being accompanied and the extent of the danger.
  • It seems very strange that Luke could know what Festus and Agrippa said to each other in their private apartments (Acts 25:13-22, 26:30-32) or what the members of the Sanhedrin said in a closed session (Acts 4:15-17, 5:34-40)
  • Acts 4:4 speaks of Peter addressing an audience of 5,000 people. Professor of New Testament Robert M Grant says: 'Luke evidently regarded himself as a historian, but many questions can be raised in regard to the reliability of his history [...] His ‘statistics’ are impossible; Peter could not have addressed three thousand hearers without a microphone, and since the population of Jerusalem was about 25-30,000, Christians cannot have numbered five thousand.[10]
  • In Acts 21:38, a Roman asks Paul if he is 'the Egyptian' who led a band of 'sicarii' (literally: 'daggers') into the desert. In both The Jewish Wars[11] and Antiquities of the Jews[12], Josephus talks about Jewish nationalist rebels called sicarii directly prior to talking about The Egyptian leading some followers to the Mount of Olives. It appears therefore that Luke used Josephus as a source and mistakenly thought that the sicarii were followers of The Egyptian.[13] [14]
  • Acts 10:1 speaks of a Roman Centurion called Cornelius, stationed in Caesarea. But during the reign of Herod Agrippa, no Roman troops were stationed in his territory.[15]
  • The description of the 'Apostolic Council' in Chapter 15 has been described as 'an imaginative construction [that] corresponds to no historical reality’.[16]. Paul's trial in Acts 24 has been described as 'incoherently presented'.[17]

Relationship to the Gospel of Luke

Since Acts is generally regarded as a continuation of the Gospel of Luke, problems with the historical reliability of the Gospel are also used to question the historical reliability of Acts. For instance, Luke's description of the census (Luke 2:1-5) of Quirinius has been regarded as implausible by historians.[18] There is no record of citizens being forced to travel for long distances to be registered, and it is not easy to see why the disruption this would cause would be justified.[19] Attempts by Christian apologists to reconcile Luke with other sources have been described by New Testament scholar John P Meier as 'hopelessly contrived'.[20]

Similarly, the Gospel of Luke seems to make errors regarding dating (the list at Luke 3:1 lists as contemporaries several non-overlapping rulers, as well as two High Priests), geography (Luke follows Mark in placing Gerasa by the Sea of Galilee at Luke 8:26. An alternative translation would give the 'country of Gerasa' as being by the Sea of Galilee. Neither of these is correct; Gerasa is over 30 miles from Galilee, and separated from it by the territories of other cities. Later translators of Luke followed Matthew and altered Gasara to Gadara.) and the correct titles for local rulers such as Pilate.

Implausible Claims

Others have disputed the plausibility of claims of widely observed miracles that lack corroboration. Edward Gibbon wrote with deliberate irony of the 'supine inattention' of great historians such as Seneca and Pliny the Elder who 'in a laborious work, [have] recorded all the great phenomena of Nature, earthquakes, meteors, comets, and eclipses' and would have lived through the three-hour darkness described by Luke. 'Both the one and the other have omitted to mention the greatest phenomenon to which the mortal eye has been witness since the creation of the globe.'[21]

Use of Sources

Several scholars have criticised Luke's use of his source materials. For example, Richard Heard has written that: 'in his narrative in the early part of Acts he seems to be stringing together, as best he may, a number of different stories and narratives, some of which appear, by the time they reached him, to have been seriously distorted in the telling.'[22] Similarly, Professor of New Testament Robert M Grant says: 'Luke evidently regarded himself as a historian, but many questions can be raised in regard to the reliability of his history'[23]

Charles Guignebert, a professor of Church history at the Sorbonne in the early 20th century, asserts that "it has been established that the author of Acts was ignorant of the epistles of Paul, and even formally contradicts them; that he does not understand certain ancient traditions [e.g. glossolalia]; and above all that his narrative of the first years of the history of the Christian Church, whose founders he is supposed to have known intimately, is pitifully inadequate" [24]

Issues with polemical writings

Some theologians argue that NT account is ahistorical because there is no corroborating evidence outside the New Testament or the writings of the Church fathers. According to this perspective, the persecutions either never happened or were exaggerated by either the New Testament authors as part of a polemic against the Jews. This polemical exaggeration was intensified by later writers such as the Church Fathers. For example, it is argued that the incidents in the New Testament represent isolated, local incidents and do not represent an institutional policy. Later events after the Bar Kokhba rebellion may have led to a re-interpretation of the isolated events into a perception of institutional policy. See also List of events in early Christianity.

Other scholarly objections

The Catholic Encyclopedia cites several objections against the authencitiy of the Acts : Catholic Encyclopedia: Acts of the Apostles: OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE AUTHENTICITY: "Nevertheless this well-proved truth has been contradicted. Baur, Schwanbeck, De Wette, Davidson, Mayerhoff, Schleiermacher, Bleek, Krenkel, and others have opposed the authenticity of the Acts. An objection is drawn from the discrepancy between Acts ix, 19-28 and Gal., i, 17, 19. In the Epistle to the Galatians, i, 17, 18, St. Paul declares that, immediately after his conversion, he went away into Arabia, and again returned to Damascus. "Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas." In Acts no mention is made of St. Paul's journey into Arabia; and the journey to Jerusalem is placed immediately after the notice of Paul's preaching in the synagogues. Hilgenfeld, Wendt, Weizäcker, Weiss, and others allege here a contradiction between the writer of the Acts and St. Paul."

Manuscripts

Like most biblical books, there are differences between the earliest surviving manuscripts of Acts. In the case of Acts, however, the differences between the surviving manuscripts is more substantial. The two earliest versions of manuscripts are the Western text-type (as represented by the Codex Bezae) and the Alexandrian text-type (as represented by the Codex Sinaiticus). The version of Acts preserved in the Western manuscripts contains about 10% more content than the Alexandrian version of Acts. Since the difference is so great, scholars have struggled to determine which of the two versions is closer to the original text composed by the original author.

The earliest explanation, suggested by Swiss theologian Jean LeClerc in the 17th century, posits that the longer Western version was a first draft, while the Alexandrian version represents a more polished revision by the same author. Adherents of this theory argue that even when the two versions diverge, they both have similarities in vocabulary and writing style-- suggesting that the two shared a common author. However, it has been argued that if both texts were written by the same individual, they should have exactly identical theologies and they should agree on historical questions. Since most modern scholars do detect subtle theological and historical differences between the texts, most scholars do not subscribe to the rough-draft/polished-draft theory.

A second theory assumes common authorship of the Western and Alexandrian texts, but claims the Alexandrian text is the short first draft, and the Western text is a longer polished draft. A third theory is that the longer Western text came first, but that later, some other redactor abbreviated some of the material, resulting in the shorter Alexandrian text.

While these other theories still have a measure of support, the modern consensus is that the shorter Alexandrian text is closer to the original, and the longer Western text is the result of later insertion of additional material into the text.[25] Already in 1893, Sir W. M. Ramsay in The Church in the Roman Empire held that the Codex Bezae (the Western text) rested on a recension made in Asia Minor (somewhere between Ephesus and southern Galatia), not later than about the middle of the 2nd century. Though "some at least of the alterations in Codex Bezae arose through a gradual process, and not through the action of an individual reviser," the revision in question was the work of a single reviser, who in his changes and additions expressed the local interpretation put upon Acts in his own time. His aim, in suiting the text to the views of his day, was partly to make it more intelligible to the public, and partly to make it more complete. To this end he "added some touches where surviving tradition seemed to contain trustworthy additional particulars," such as the statement that Paul taught in the lecture-room of Tyrannus "from the fifth to the tenth hour" (added to Acts 19:9). In his later work, St Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen (1895), Ramsay's views gain both in precision and in breadth. The gain lies chiefly in seeing beyond the Bezan text to the "Western" text as a whole.

It is believed that the material in the Western text which isn't in the Alexandrian text reflects later theological developments within Christianity. For examples, the Western text features a greater hostility to Judaism, a more positive attitude towards a Gentile Christianity, and other traits which appear to be later additions to the text. Some also note that the Western text attempts to minimize the emphasis Acts places on the role of women in the early Christian church.

A third class of manuscripts, known as the Byzantine text-type, is often considered to have developed after the Western and Alexandrian types. While differing from both of the other types, the Byzantine type has more similarity to the Alexandrian than to the Western type. The extant manuscripts of this type date from the 5th century or later; however, papyrus fragments show that this text-type may date as early as the Alexandrian or Western text-types.[26] The Byzantine text-type served as the basis for the 16th century Textus Receptus, the first Greek-language version of the New Testament to be printed by printing press. The Textus Receptus, in turn, served as the basis for the New Testament found in the English-language King James Bible. Today, the Byzantine text-type is the subject of renewed interest as the possible original form of the text from which the Western and Alexandrian text-types were derived.[27]

Content

Acts is divided into two distinct parts. The first (chs. 1–12) deals with the church in Jerusalem and Judaea, and with Peter as central figure— at any rate in the first five chapters. "Yet in cc. vi.-xii.," as Harnack observes,

the author pursues several lines at once. (1) He has still in view the history of the Jerusalem community and the original apostles (especially of Peter and his missionary labors); (2) he inserts in vi. 1 ff. a history of the Hellenistic Christians in Jerusalem and of the Seven Men, which from the first tends towards the Gentile Mission and the founding of the Antiochene community; (3) he pursues the activity of Philip in Samaria and on the coast...; (4) lastly, he relates the history of Paul up to his entrance on the service of the young Antiochene church. In the small space of seven chapters he pursues all these lines and tries also to connect them together, at the same time preparing and sketching the great transition of the Gospel from Judaism to the Greek world. As historian, he has here set himself the greatest task.

No doubt gaps abound in these seven chapters. "But the inquiry as to whether what is narrated does not even in these parts still contain the main facts, and is not substantially trustworthy, is not yet concluded." The difficulty is that there are few external means of testing this portion of the narrative. The second part pursues the history of the apostle Paul, and here the statements made in the Acts may be compared with the Epistles. The result is a general harmony, without any trace of direct use of these letters; and there are many minute coincidences. But attention has been drawn to two remarkable exceptions: the account given by Paul of his visits to Jerusalem in Galatians as compared with Acts; and the character and mission of the apostle Paul, as they appear in his letters and in Acts.

In regard to the first point, the differences as to Paul's movements until he returns to his native province of Syria-Cilicia do not really amount to more than can be explained by the different interests of Paul and the author, respectively. But it is otherwise as regards the visits of Galatians 2:1-10 and Acts 15. If they are meant to refer to the same occasion (see also the Council of Jerusalem), as is usually assumed, it is hard to see why Paul should omit reference to the public occasion of the visit, as also to the public vindication of his policy. But in fact the issues of the two visits, as given in Galatians 2:9f. and Acts 15:20f., are not at all the same. Nay more, if Galatians 2:1–10 = Acts 15, the historicity of the "Relief visit" of Acts 11:30, 12:25 seems definitely excluded by Paul's narrative of events before the visit of Galatians 2:1ff. Accordingly, Sir W. M. Ramsay and others argue that the latter visit itself coincided with the Relief visit, and even see in Galatians 2:10 witness thereto.

But why does not Paul refer to the public charitable object of his visit? It seems easier to assume that the visit of Galatians 2:1ff. is altogether unrecorded in Acts, owing to its private nature as preparing the way for public developments—with which Acts is mainly concerned. In that case, it would fall shortly before the Relief visit, to which there may be tacit explanatory allusion, in Galatians 2:10; and it will be shown below that such a conference of leaders in Galatians 2:1ff. leads up excellently both to the First Mission Journey and to Acts 15.

As for Paul as depicted in Acts, Paul claims that he was appointed the "Apostle to the Gentiles", as Peter was to the Circumcision; and that circumcision and the observance of the Mosaic Law were of no importance to the Gentile Christian as such. His words on these points in all his letters are strong and decided, but see also Antinomianism in the New Testament and New Perspective on Paul. But in Acts, it is Peter who first opens up the way for the Gentiles. It is Peter who uses the strongest language in regard to the intolerable burden of the Law as a means of salvation (15:10f.; cf. 1), so-called Legalism (theology). Not a word is said of any difference of opinion between Peter and Paul at Antioch (Gal 2:11ff., see also Incident at Antioch). The brethren in Antioch send Paul and Barnabas up to Jerusalem to ask the opinion of the apostles and elders: they state their case, and carry back the decision to Antioch. Throughout the whole of Acts, Paul never stands forth as the unbending champion of the Gentiles. He seems continually anxious to reconcile the Jewish Christians to himself by personally observing the law of Moses. He personally circumcises the semi-Jew Timothy (Acts 16:1-4, whose mother was Jewish Christian but whose father was Greek); and he performs his vows in the temple (Acts 21:26, see also Nazirite). He is particularly careful in his speeches to show how deep is his respect for the law of Moses (Acts 24:14-15). In all this, the letters of Paul are very different from Acts. In Galatians, he claims perfect freedom in principle, for himself as for the Gentiles, from the obligatory observance of the law; and neither in it nor in Corinthians does he take any notice of a decision to which the apostles had come in their meeting at Jerusalem. The narrative of Acts, too, itself implies something other than what it sets in relief; for why should the Jews hate Paul so much, if he was not in some sense disloyal to their Law?

According to historian Colin J. Hemer[28], This is not necessarily a contradiction; only such a difference of emphasis as belongs to the standpoints and aims of the two writers amid their respective historical conditions. Peter's function toward the Gentiles belongs to early conditions present in Judaea, before Paul's distinctive mission had taken shape. Once Paul's apostolate—a personal one, parallel with the more collective apostolate of "the Twelve"—has proved itself by tokens of Divine approval, Peter and his colleagues frankly recognize the distinction of the two missions, and are anxious only to arrange that the two shall not fall apart by religiously and morally incompatible usages (Acts 15). Paul, on his side, clearly implies that Peter felt with him that the Law could not justify (Gal 2:15ff.), and argues that it could not now be made obligatory in principle (cf. "a yoke," Acts 15:10); yet for Jews it might continue for the time (pending the Parousia, see also Dual-covenant theology) to be seemly and expedient, especially for the sake of non-believing Judaism. To this he conformed his own conduct as a Jew, so far as his Gentile apostolate was not involved (1 Cor 9:19-23). There is no reason to doubt that Peter largely agreed with him, since he acted in this spirit in Galatians 2:11f., until coerced by Jerusalem sentiment to draw back for expediency's sake. This incident simply did not fall within the scope of Acts to narrate, since it had no abiding effect on the Church's extension. As to Paul's submission of the issue in Acts 15 to the Jerusalem conference, Acts does not imply that Paul would have accepted a decision in favor of the Judaizers, though he saw the value of getting a decision for his own policy in the quarter where they were most likely to defer. If the view that he already had an understanding with the "Pillar" Apostles, as recorded in Galatians 2:1–10, be correct, it gives the best of reasons why he was ready to enter the later public Conference of Acts 15. Paul's own "free" attitude to the Law, when on Gentile soil, is just what is implied by the hostile rumors as to his conduct in Acts 21:21, which he would be glad to disprove as at least exaggerated (vv. 24 and 26).

Speeches

The speeches in Acts deserve special notice, because they constitute about 20% of the entire book. Given the nature of the times, lack of recording devices, and space limitations, many ancient historians did not reproduce verbatim reports of speeches. Condensing and using one's own style was often unavoidable. Nevertheless, there were different practices when it came to the level of creativity or adherence individual historians practiced.

On one end of the scale were those who seemingly invented speeches, such as the Sicilian historian Timaeus (356–260 BC). Others, such as Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Tacitus, fell somewhere in between, reporting actual speeches but likely with significant liberty. The ideal for ancient historians, however, seems to have been to try as much as possible to report the sense of what was actually said, rather than simply placing one's own speech in a figure's mouth.

Perhaps the best example of this ideal was voiced by Polybius, who ridiculed Timaeus for his invention of speeches. Historians, Polybius wrote, were "to instruct and convince for all time serious students by the truth of the facts and the speeches he narrates" (Hist. 2.56.10–12). Another ancient historian, Thucydides, admits to having taken some liberty while narrating speeches, but only when he did not have access to any sources. When he had sources, he used them. In his own words, Thucydides wrote speeches "of course adhering as closely as possible to the general sense of what was actually said" (History of the Peloponnesian War, 1.22.1). Accordingly, as stated by C.W. Fornara, "[t]he principle was established that speeches were to be recorded accurately, though in the words of the historian, and always with the reservation that the historian could 'clarify'" (The Nature of History in Ancient Greece and Rome, p. 145).

On what end of the scale did the author of Acts fall? There is little doubt that the speeches of Acts are summaries or condensations largely in the style and vocabulary of its author. However, there are indications that the author of Acts relied on source material for his speeches, and did not treat them as mere vehicles for expressing his own theology. The author's apparent use of speech material in the Gospel of Luke, obtained from the Gospel of Mark and the hypothetical Q document or the Gospel of Matthew, suggests that he relied on other sources for his narrative and was relatively faithful in using them. Additionally, many scholars have viewed Acts' presentation of Stephen's speech, Peter's speeches in Jerusalem and, most obviously, Paul's speech in Miletus as relying on source material or of expressing views not typical of Acts' author.[29] Additionally, there is no evidence that any speech in Acts is the free composition of its author, without either written or oral basis. Accordingly, in general, the author of Acts seems to be among the conscientious ancient historians, touching the essentials of historical accuracy, even as now understood. Or, according to Encyclopedia Biblica, "it is beyond doubt that the author constructed them in each case according to his own conception of the situation."[30]

References

  1. The Book of Acts & Archeology
  2. Grant, Robert M., "A Historical Introduction to the New Testament" (Harper and Row, 1963) http://www.religion-online.org/showchapter.asp?title=1116&C=1230
  3. Phillips, Thomas E. "The Genre of Acts: Moving Toward a Consensus?" Currents in Biblical Research 4 [2006] 365 - 396.
  4. Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. 117.
  5. Reading Acts By Charles H. Talbert
  6. A. N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), p. 189.
  7. Catholic Encyclopedia: Gospel of Saint Luke: Saint Luke's Accuracy
  8. Jesus, Translated from the French by S. H. Hooke, Professor of Old Testament Studies, University of London, University Books, New York, 1956.
  9. A dictionary of the Roman Empire. By Matthew Bunson. ISBN-10: 0195102339. See page 90.
  10. Grant, Robert M., A Historical Introduction to the New Testament (Harper and Row, 1963)
  11. Jewish War 2.259-263
  12. Jewish Antiquities 20.169-171
  13. Steve Mason, Josephus and Luke-Acts, Josephus and the New Testament (Hendrickson Publishers: Peabody, Massachusetts, 1992), pp. 185-229.
  14. Pervo, Richard, Dating Acts: between the evangelists and the apologists (Polebridge Press, 2006)
  15. Grant, Robert M., A Historical Introduction to the New Testament (Harper and Row, 1963)
  16. Ernst Haenchen, quoted in Grant, 1963
  17. Grant, 1963
  18. Emil Schürer (revised by Geza Vermes, Fergus Millar and Matthew Black), The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, Continuum International, 1973, Volume I page 401.
  19. James Douglas Grant Dunn, Jesus Remembered, p. 344; E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, Penguin, 1993, p86.
  20. John P. Meier, "A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus" (Doubleday, 1991), v. 1, p. 213.
  21. Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 15
  22. Heard, Richard: An Introduction to the New Testament Chapter 13: The Acts of the Apostles, Harper & Brothers, 1950
  23. Grant, 1963
  24. Jesus, Translated from the French by S. H. Hooke, Professor of Old Testament Studies, University of London, University Books, New York, 1956.
  25. The Text of Acts
  26. Such as P66 and P75. See: E. C. Colwell, Hort Redivisus: A Plea and a Program, Studies in Methodology in Textual Criticism of the New Testament, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1969, p. 45-48.
  27. See: Robinson, Maurice A. and Pierpont, William G., The New Testament in the Original Greek, (2005) ISBN 0-7598-0077-4
  28. Questions and evidence of historicity are presented in Colin J. Hemer, "The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History", Eisenbrauns, 1990
  29. Christian CADRE-Speeches in Acts
  30. "Acts", Encyclopedia Biblica

Further Reading

  • I. Howard Marshall. Luke: Historian and Theologian. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.
  • F.F. Bruce. The Speeches in the Acts of the Apostles. London: The Tyndale Press, 1942.[1]
  • Helmut Koester. Ancient Christian Gospels. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International, 1999.
  • Colin J. Hermer. The book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History. Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1989.
  • J. Wenham, "The Identification of Luke", Evangelical Quarterly 63 (1991), 3–44

External links

  • Catholic Encyclopedia: Acts of the Apostles, see section titled Objections against the authenticity
  • Jewish Encyclopedia: New Testament: The Acts of the Apostles

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